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Tobramycin

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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Overview

  • Tobramycin is an antibiotic that inhibits bacteria by suppressing protein synthesis and growth. Through this mechanism, tobramycin kills bacteria rapidly.
  • Tobramycin comes from the class of drugs called aminoglycosides. Other related drugs in this class include neomycin, amikacin, gentamicin and kanamycin.
  • Tobramycin is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Nebcin® (Lilly) and various generic preparations. There are also various ophthalmic prepartions: TobraDex® ophthalmic ointment and suspension (Alcon), Tobrex® ophthalmic ointment and suspension (Alcon), Aktob® (Akorn), Tobramycin ophthalmic solution 0.3% (Bausch & Lomb), Tomycine® sterile ophthalmic solution (CIBA Vision)
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Tobramycin

  • Tobramycin is used in both dogs and cats to treat or prevent bacterial infections including respiratory infections, wound infections, pneumonia, bladder infections, blood stream infections and infections of the skin and ear. Tobramycin is also used to treat certain eye infections.
  • Because tobramycin is administered by injection (except for the topical forms), it is usually administered to animals with serious infections that are treated in a hospital setting.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, tobramycin can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Tobramycin should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • The most serious adverse effect from tobramycin and others in this class of drugs is damage to the kidneys. This effect is related to duration of dose and the condition of the kidneys prior to treatment. (The longer the duration of treatment, the more likely this problem is to occur.) Therefore, the status of the health of the kidneys must be assessed before tobramycin is administered to animals.
  • Animals should not receive tobramycin if they are dehydrated or have other diseases that may risk the health of their kidneys.
  • Tobramycin may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with tobramycin. Such drugs include amphotericin B, acyclovir, cisplatin, furosemide, mannitol, anesthetics and cephalosporins.
  • Tobramycin and other aminoglycosides can cause loss of hearing (ototoxicity) in animals or loss of balance (vestibulotoxicity).
  • High doses can cause muscle paralysis in animals.
  • Do not administer topically if there is evidence of skin sensitivity to the compound (redness, irritation, itching).
  • When tobramycin is applied topically, such as on the eyes, it is poorly absorbed; adverse reactions, described above, may be minimized with this application.

    How Tobramycin Is Supplied

  • Tobramycin is available as a 10 mg/ml, 30 mg/ml and 40 mg/ml injectable solution.
  • Tobramycin is also available as a 0.3% ophthalmic suspension in 5 ml bottles and as a 0.3% ophthalmic ointment in 3.5 g tubes

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The usual dose is 1 mg per pound (2 mg/kg) every 8 hours by intravenous (IV), intramuscular (IM) or subcutaneous (SC) administration.
  • When applied topically, the dose and frequency depends on the type of condition being treated. Tobramycin is usually applied two or three times daily.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse or prevent the development of resistance.





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